Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—Paperman (2012) ****

G, 7 min.
Director: John Kahrs
Writers: Clio Chiang, Kendelle Hoyer
Voices: John Kahrs, Jeff Turley, Kari Wahlgren

When I saw this short presented before the theatrical presentation of Disney’s “Wreck-It Ralph” last fall, my primary thought was “animated perfection.” This is a brilliant animated film. And low and behold, Pixar didn’t make it.

The Oscar nominated “Paperman” tells the story of just about the cutest Meet Cute you’ve ever witnessed in the movies. Two people meet eyes on a train platform. There’s some connection made, but they don’t meet because of schedules and differing directions or whatever. Then, at work, the man notices the same woman in the office building across from him. His desk is stacked with papers. He decides to see if he can get her attention by flying a paper airplane in through the window of the room she’s in. Despite his fierce determination and a seemingly endless supply of paper, he can never get the airplanes to land just right for her attention. Then, life butts in when his boss insists he get back to work. Like all of our movie dreams, he throws caution to the wind and leaves his job to race down and intercept her as she leaves the neighboring building. When he fails, movie magic takes hold and all those airplanes come to life to unite these two destined lovers.

Of course, mere description can’t do the film justice. This is a story that could only work through animation. More importantly, the filmmakers understood that this more classic material demanded a more classic hand-drawn form of animation. The expressions of the two lovers and of the paper airplanes could not be expressed with live action or even through CGI. This had to be classically animated. It is oh so sweet and romantic. Just the perfect movie for Valentine’s Day.

Unbelievably, Disney hasn't shut down all the streaming versions available on line in preparation for the DVD and Blu-ray release of “Wreck-It Ralph”, which will feature the short as an extra. “Wreck-It Ralph” is a worthy enough film for purchase, but even if it weren’t, the home video would be worth whatever price for the inclusion of this short by itself. “Paperman” is by far the best short animation of 2012.

Watch the full movie below.

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